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12 June 2012

German travel agents experience the magic of South Africa in ten days

Mega FAM trip will enable 100travel agents to sell destination South Africa more confidently.

South Africa has many wonderful attractions on offer, including wildlife.

In short… the FAM will deliver evidence of the heartfelt connections that people make when they visit us.- Theresa Bay-M?ller, Country Manager Germany at South African Tourism

A group of German travel agents is currently in South Africa to experience a ten-day mega familiarisation (FAM) trip. Organised by German Tour Operator Gebeco, in partnership with South African Tourism, the FAM has been engineered to give the agents first-hand experience of South Africa as a holiday destination to make it easy for them to sell South Africa with confidence.

Dubbed the “Gebeco Experience Tour” the FAM trip is designed to promote South Africa’s offerings and showcase its world-class service and facilities to travel agents who sell destination South Africa in one of South Africa’s most lucrative tourism markets. During the ten day visit, the agents will be given the opportunity to experience the various leisure and adventure activities the destination offers in six of its provinces.

Theresa Bay-M?ller, Country Manager Germany at South African Tourism says: “The Gebeco FAM gives a hundred of the most influential agents in that market an opportunity to explore South Africa, enjoy South Africa; experience our adventure offerings, our culture; our amazing scenic beauty and our awesome infrastructure. It also gives them the chance to see for themselves that South Africa is the most accessible, inviting, warm, friendly and hospitable destination in the world. In short... the FAM will deliver evidence of the heartfelt connections that people make when they visit us.”

South Africa’s popularity as a destination is growing in Germany, one of a very number of European markets that has not shrunk as a result of the Eurozone crisis and of the world recession. Last year, arrivals from Germany grew 9.3 percent (235 774 arrivals) and by end February this year, arrivals were 7.8 percent up on February 2011 numbers. It’s an extremely important and lucrative market, says Bay-Müller and South African Tourism invests in defending it.

Jens Hulversohn, Director Marketing and Sales at Gebeco, is delighted to be in South Africa as a FAM delegate. “It’s a beautiful, capable, friendly country,” he says. “We have been welcomed with open arms. The beauty of the scenery and the infrastructure capability are rivalled only by the warmth and friendliness of the people. It’s no wonder Germans love South Africa.

“The FAM has proved to be really useful. We have been introduced to valuable contacts in the local industry. We have experienced what our clients will experience when they visit. We have learned about the distances between places; the culture; the South African sense of humour; the great outdoor lifestyle you have here... and the great indoor lifestyle, too. It’s been great. Most important, it’s been a valuable tool to do our work when we get back home to and sell South Africa in Germany.”

On the FAM itinerary was a one-day intensive destination workshop that was held in Cape Town. Gebeco presented its South African products at the workshop whose theme was ‘Sustainability in connection with destination’. The workshop was followed by a dinner dance where delegates experienced the authenticity of how South Africa parties to the rhythm and beat of an optimistic, celebratory and inviting nation.

“An important aspect of what we do is to constantly educate travel agents about destination South Africa, its people and the products. The workshop was useful in that it addressed issues and answered questions while delivering the experience of South Africa at the same time,” says Bay-M?ller.

The mega FAM visit and associated workshops have been made possible through partnerships with Gebeco, South African Tourism, South African Airways, Vineyard Hotel and Cape Town Tourism.

“Partnerships and relationships drive the tourism business. Singlehandedly, we would not have been able to put together such a well-rounded itinerary so we are grateful to our partners in the industry who made it possible,” says says Bay-M?ller.

Cape Town Tourism’s CEO Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold commented: “Cape Town Tourism is proud to partner with South African Tourism Germany and Gebeco to increase demand for Cape Town as a leisure and subsequent business destination. Cape Town and surrounds remain a firm favourite with German travelers and the Gebeco Experience Tour covers the best of Cape Town’s tourism offering – showcasing both iconic Cape Town attractions and unexpected Cape Town experiences. We strongly believe that the FAM trip will contribute to the conversion of awareness into tourism arrivals for the destination.”

The Gebeco agents leave the country on 14 June.

Ends.

Issued by South African Tourism

For further information contact

Jermaine Craig at SA Tourism

Tel: +27 11 895 3000

Email: Jermaine@southafrica.net

Allison MacDonald at Ireland-Davenport

Tel: +27 11 463 2252

Email: Allison.MacDonald@Ireland-Davenport.co.za

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South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for the marketing of South Africa as a preferred tourist destination. It is headed up by Chief Executive Officer, Ms Thandiwe January-McLean, Chief Operating Officer Mr Timothy Scholtz and Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Roshene Singh.

About Gebeco:

Gebeco is one of the leading educational and theme travel operators in Germany. The success of Gebeco is based on a corporate philosophy which places people at the centre of all its activities